Friday, June 26, 2009

The Great A-Scape

Lawd a-mercy, things looked dicey there for a minute, but I finished my first class yesterday.  Summer has solstice-d, and I must've missed the dove clutching an olive branch in its beak, but the rain has stopped!  In short, things is looking up. I can't wait to attend to all the things I've been neglecting for the past few weeks, like my apartment (the bathroom is starting to attract mycologists), my cat (I just brushed a kitten's-worth of fur from her shedding coat), and of course, the kitchen.  Holler!

I made this loosey-goosey soup last week after my first farmers market trip.  And none too soon – another day without produce and I would've been pushing scurvy.  It's great for those wet spring days that are supposed to happen in, say, April, not late June. I'm just sayin'.  Anyway, spring veggies, some fresh herbs, an aromatic, maybe some white wine, and you're done.  The scapes, garlic in its young, spindly stage, are great.  They reached a near-celebrity status last year after this New York Times article, and well, once it's cool in the Times, it must not be cool anymore, right?  Well, I'd like to believe that vegetables transcend that hipster mentality.  Cut up, the taste and texture is rather like fresh green beens with a kiss of garlic. Trendy or no, what's not to like? 

Spring Vegetable Soup

6 cups water, vegetable stock, or combination

olive oil for saute

1/4 cup dry white wine (like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc)

1 shallot, cut into rings

2 garlic scapes, cut into 1-inch lengths

1 carrot, sliced diagonally into ovals

stems from a bunch of swiss chard, chopped

a few asparagus stalks, scut into 1-inch lengths (reserve a few stalks for garnish)

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

a combination of a couple fresh herbs, mix 'n' match 'n' chop – parsley, thyme, lavender, rosemary... any suggestions?

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a stock pot.  Add the shallots and cook until just softened.  Add the rest of the veggies and cook until they brighten up and soften (poke or taste; the cook time will depend on the veggies you use).  Add the wine, stir, and cook for a couple minutes while some of the wine evaporates.  Add the water and/or stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer.  Halfway through the simmer (probably about ten minutes), add your fresh herbs. Simmer until the soup is fragrant and the veggies are softened but not mush – twenty minutes or less.  Season with salt and pepper, and serve with a garnish of asparagus spears and a pinch of the freshly chopped herbs. Serves 4-6.

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